Orthogonal Thought | Random musings from the creator of Cooking For Engineers and Lead Architect of Fanpop





Movies This Week (6/8)

Posted 8 June, 2007 at 4:33pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Movies)

This week I found myself going through a lot of movies having watched Date Movie (0.5/5) , Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (4/5), The Sweet Hereafter (3.5/5), Firewall (2.5/5), Jarhead (4.5/5), Apocalypto (3/5), and Art School Confidential (3/5). Here are my thoughts…

Date Movie (HD Cable) - I watch a lot of bad movies (partly because I watch a lot of movies, partly because I'm fascinated with what makes a movie bad) and often a "bad movie" can achieve its purposes - being funny, startling, or just plain weird. I went into Date Movie fully expecting silly humor and a ridiculous plot that parodies romantic comedies and other recent movies. Even with my low expectations, Date Movie was unable to satisfy. Most of the funny parts of the film are straight reenactments of the original comedies that it parodies until the slight twist - which invariably isn't funny, but just gross or over the top. Non sequitur after non sequitur is put into this movie to make fun of even some movies that don't fit the genre (like Lord of the Rings). When people say this is was one of the worst movies of 2006, they really weren't kidding. 0.5/5

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (DVD) - This off kilter detective story is a real treat to those people who love to watch movies and love detective stories. The story is narrated by the main character, Harry Lockhart played by Morton Downey, Jr., as if he's pitching a movie concept or telling a story. He interrupts himself and fills in back story in an amusing fashion that helps break up the suspense and somewhat macabre events that happen to the characters as they try to solve a mystery that threatens their lives. Val Kilmer as Gay Perry, a private investigator that acts as a mentor to Harry, is excellent in his role (as is Morton Downey, Jr.). I really enjoyed this movie and highly recommend it. 4/5

The Sweet Hereafter (DVD) - A heavy movie about a heavy subject - a small town loses many of their children to a school bus accident and has to deal with the aftermath. Some mourn, others are approached by a lawyer seeking a class action lawsuit, and still others just want to move on with their lives. The story is told in pieces, revealing early on that something happens to the school bus and the children so the focus isn't on the surprise of the event, but the emotions of those impacted by the event. The Sweet Hereafter is both powerful and well made. 3.5/5

Firewall (DVD) - Harrison Ford plays a bank software security expert who is forced to help Paul Bettany to rob his own bank. Paul holds his family hostage while Harrison does his best to foil Paul's well laid plans but to no avail. When enough is enough, Harrison strikes back to save his family and steal the money back. Typical Harrison Ford fare - not too bad for this kind of movie, but it can't keep you from feeling you've seen this movie already. 2.5/5

Jarhead (DVD) - Sam Mendes does a excellent job directing this war movie based on memoirs of a U.S. Marine stationed in the Middle East during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. The movie is not so much a war movie as a psychological essay on military life as seen by an infantryman sniper. Often we think of war in terms of hero stories - movies like Rambo III, video games like Call of Duty, and legends of soldiers who defeat entire brigades with their bare hands. Jarhead shows us that most of the time the soldier's life is spent training, drilling, and preparing for a moment that he is called on to fight, but the constant fear, uncertainty, waiting, and watching the world move on drives them to the brink of insanity. Whether or not they will survive to go home competes with whether or not they will actually do what they were trained to do (kill the enemy) compete for the the highest priority in their life. Having watched the film, I can't help but want to find a copy of the book (by the same name) and read more about this amazing, absurd, and emotional experience. Awesome. 4.5/5

Apocalypto (DVD) - Apocalypto is an adventure story about a Mayan who struggles to escape from his captors to rescue his wife and son after his village is unexpectedly wiped out by a viscious warring tribe. The movie is a straightforward capture, escape, and chase movie with extra time spent building up a relationship between the viewer and the main character. The extra time is well spent because the film is in Mayan (with subtitles) and the Mayan culture is unfamiliar to most viewers. By the time the hour long chase sequence begins, you are quite sympathetic to the main character. The rest of the movie is fairly formulaic with many elements predictable but beautifully executed (some of the jungle footage is breathtaking). All in all, a decent watch. 3/5

Art House Confidential (DVD) - In this dark comedy, Jerome Platz, an aspiring artist, believes he's found his muse in Audrey, a beautiful art school model. His quest to catch her eye, ends up leading him to be unwittingly intertwined with a local serial murder case and a twist of fate leads him to the fame he's always dreamed of, but through a route he would never have dreamed. This arthouse film spends a lot of time making fun of art and those who take it too seriously (including an aspriing movie maker played by Ethan Suplee, Randy from My Name is Earl). John Malkovich co-stars and Anjelica Huston and Steve Buchemi have minor roles in this movie. 3/5

4 comments to Movies This Week (6/8)

Papa, June 10th, 2007 at 11:57 am:

  • Re: Date Movie, it must be human nature to want to see what makes a train-wreck an train-wreck, because even though you confirm that it was awful (and I believe you), I still have some desire to see it just so I can know how bad it truly is (I like bad movies too from time to time). Perhaps some excerpts on YouTube will suffice…

Angie, June 11th, 2007 at 12:25 pm:

  • I couldn't enjoy the climactic ending of Firewall because I just kept thinking how unlikely it was that he would be able to maintain his internet connection far enough to find his family. I hope I wasn't the only one who noticed that flaw.

Michael Chu, June 12th, 2007 at 11:52 am:

  • Haha! I had zoned out a bit by that point, but you're totally right! Even if he was on Sprint's data network, chances are he'd have lost connection at some point out there in the middle of nowhere. Plus, the dog's GPS had to relay data back to the GPS service too…

rouademunte, October 18th, 2009 at 11:00 am:

  • Very nice movies!